Monday, December 21, 2009

christmas = anxiety

so i volunteered to put together some sort of service/ritual for our ever increasingly interfaith family - our traditional christmas eve service just isn't going to work anymore.

and i was excited about putting something together, something meaningful, which can really bring us all together in some sort of way. something short and special. mom's really into the idea, and is trusting me to put together something fantastic.

But my problem is that my brain is tired, and i am also nervous about putting my heart out there again, for fear that this whole thing will turn into a laughable chore.

faith discourse has been a tricky thing in our family the last few years; what i find most difficult about it is the lack of support which often creeps up for everybody's individual faith journeys. discourse often turns into debate turns into hurt feelings turns into further frustration. but at the same time it holds so much potential.

so i am hopeful about the potential of this little exercise, but also am aware of how my spirit might be crushed in this process. i would like to offer something as a gift, and fear that its just not going to fly or be respected. my stomach hurts.

anxiety. all over. we'll see how it goes i guess.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Painful Liberation

Well well.


Back from Thailand. As with many of these experiences, I am unsure what to say about it. Still processing a lot; still figuring things out. What happened out there? So much.

And who am i?

These last three years or so, and especially the last few months, have been a whirlwind of changes, non-stop, in almost every aspect of life. It feels like nothing is the same except for my parents, who offer me a wonderful and stable presence in my life.

But in the midst of such life rocking changes, it feels like I am trouble grasping any true sense of identity for myself. Who am i? what have I become? Why do I change so often? Is this a good thing? Or am I running from something?

It feels like every rock that I have rejoicefully identified myself with just a few years ago have been shattered. Sometimes sadly, sometimes joyfully and in a liberating way. My faith looks quite different than it did in my providence days; my view of ministry has been dramatically altered and the way I interact with my God has changed considerably. She has become more mystical and beautiful and more mysterious, but also more elusive at times; less tangible and more . . . bigger? My environment changes constantly, both with my living situation, and with my surroundings – lots of travel. Which is exciting but leaves me with the lack of a home to connect with and take refuge in. I feel like I have gained the world, but lost my home in this process. The career path I strongly identified with now holds little interest for me . . . and so on and so on with pivitol relationships, belongings, even the food that I eat. Everything has changed.

In Thailand we spoke a lot about identity, and how our identities intersect with systems of privilege and oppression. I wish we would have dwelled a bit more on how our identities impact us as people and as communities outside of these systems. Because I feel a bit lost, and yet found, and find myself looking for direction in what feels like a vast amount of empty space.

I don’t know if this makes sense to anyone but myself. I wonder and am haunted this week by how much I have changed, and sometimes I even wonder if I am on the right road. Much of my theology and lifestyle changes have been liberating, and have released me from a limiting box of social rules and a limited, black-and-white God. But each of these liberations have come with a certain amount of pain and with a prying away of something that was once really important to me. Painful liberation. On one hand I feel blessed to have had these experiences, but on the other I think it may have all happened too quickly; that within the span of 3 years God turned my world upside down in so many ways. Which I was excited about but am now crashing a bit because I feel a bit lost in the wilderness and unsure of who I am anymore.

Without a God of black and white rules, how am I to behave? Without rigid social norms, how do I know how to define myself? Without culturally-bound social values and constructs of gender, God, right, wrong, identity, spirituality, sexuality, music, prayer, dance, joy, peace, stability, who am I without these things?

Liberated. I guess. I know. I know these are good things. I know I am very thankful for my journey the past three years. I am thankful of who I have become. I just hope to some day figure out who that is. Because every day I feel like I am falling.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


Hey everyone!

So . . . I am going to Thailand. I can’t believe it, and today I feel so anxious I might throw up. But it’s a really good type of throw up.

I feel this is exactly where I am supposed to be, and I consider my fear to actually be an affirming sign that I am in the right place.

I will be back on the 12th and, assuming that I don’t get eaten by a Thai spider, expect to return a changed woman. Let me know if you notice a difference.

I am so thankful for all of my family and friends who support me during these times. I can’t imagine being able to live a meaningful life without your love and support. Thank you for the meaning you bring to me.

See you after Thailand. If I have internet access, I might blog about my journeys, we’ll see!


Monday, November 16, 2009

If Christ were coming again tomorrow, I would plant a tree today. - Martin Luther

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

i don't even have the emotional capacity to comment on this quote right now.

The circumstances of our lives are another medium of God’s communication with us. God opens some doors and closes others.... Through the wisdom of our bodies, God tells us to slow down or reorder our priorities. The happy coincidences and frustrating impasses of daily life are laden with messages. Patient listening and the grace of the Spirit are the decoding devices of prayer. It is a good habit to ask, What is God saying to me in this situation? Listening to our lives is part of prayer.

- Marjorie J. Thompson
Soul Feast

Monday, November 02, 2009

Lots of good stuff here.

Seize the day, if you must, but do so gently and never, ever shake it. All days are not alike, and some of them are just not meant for seizing. Some days you wake up with a headache, a dentist's appointment, and a long to-do list. But that's okay. Seize tomorrow instead and today follow the path of least resistance - because deciding not to seize this particular day is also a form of seizing the day, if you follow my drift.
Likewise, whoever came up with the bright idea that you should live each day as if it were your last has probably never taken this advice . . . what this cliche fails to address is that the day after your imagined last day quickly arrives and transforms your grand exit into an unmitigated disaster. Now you're chubby, broke, jobless, and have really spooked your cute UPS driver. And you're supposed to live this nightmarish new day as if it's your last. You see where I'm going with this - it gets old very fast.
Better advice is to live each year as if it's your last. Pace yourself. Prioritize. Most of all, enjoy the constructive daydreaming it takes to plan your fantasy, because if you don't, you're missing the whole point: Living each day as if it's your last is really about enjoying now. Even if you're not exactly where you want to be yet, there really is a ton of pleasure to be had in stopping to smell the rugosas along the way.
Adventure comes with no guarantees or promises. Risk and reward are conjoined twins . . . there are many good reasons not to toss your life up in the air and see how it lands. Just don't let fear be one of them.

- Mary South

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


"A lot of people resist transition and therefore never allow themselves to enjoy who they are. Embrace the change, no matter what it is; once you do, you can learn about the new world you're in and take advantage of it. You still bring to bear all your prior experience, but you're riding on another level. It's completely liberating." - Nikki Giovanni

so. i change a lot.
i try to live my life with a "no parking" attitude - always moving forward, always living and learning. I try to open myself to the power of God and the power of my community and relationships to keep poking me into a continually new creation, to keep learning and growing into my own skin.

with varying degrees of success, i guess.

and i love this way of living.

i don't ever want to sit still. i want to live and move in the Spirit; to follow Her where She leads. Into scary and wonderful places, into both joy and pain. life is not living if it doesn't include both of these.

but then there are times where i wonder if my carpe diem choice of lifestyle has more to do with running from myself than running towards something. that maybe i am not sitting still because i am afraid to. that maybe i have not come as far as i thought i did. and maybe if i sat down and stopped striving to move and change i could actually connect with who i am today and learn things from that person.

i have had a difficult time relaxing lately. even star trek dvds aren't helping. i am restless, my spirit is agitated, and i can't sit.

these last few months i have been both running from and connecting to my body. at the same time. which is tricky to do, but i have have figured out the awkward balance. i pay attention to my need to connect with my body, with my need for yoga and chi and healing. but am frightened of and avoid that quiet place which i used to love sitting in. in my tent in the early mornings, or in the corner of my office when my day got too ridiculous. wrapped in the arms of Christ.

i wonder where this new fear stems from.

perhaps from the fear of connecting to and having a relationship with my own slightly broken body. to admit my physical mortality. The last few years have been so focused on my spiritual being that i have been neglectful of my physical being. perhaps even my emotional being. to admit the limits of this body, and of my short lifetime on earth, smacks of ridiculousness, stemming from my evangelical upbringing. i was brought up to always look forward to heaven, to write off what happens on this earth. that was REALLY matters comes next.

so i have a strong concept of my spiritual being. i am connected to her and her strengths and her needs and her weaknesses and her need to be challenged, to be loved, to always be changing and growing.

and it seems strange that in such a time - a time where i have spent countless hours working and focusing on my body in many different ways than i ever have before, that i realize my emotional disconnectedness from its functionings and its non-functionings.

what place does my body have in my spirituality?
what place does my spirituality have in my body?
and how do the two fit together?

time for quiet. i guess.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Peg. By Kelly Hughes.

Award-winning Winnipeg author . . . Chandra Mayor says Winnipeg is a real DIY city. And she's right. Winnipeg is the MacGyver of Canada. We're not drowning in endowments and corporate cash, so we make our own fun with a paper bag, an elastic, a few buttons and some pipecleaners. Mr. Dressup would be proud. And we should be proud too. We should hold our heads a little higher, and lose the loser mentality. We as a city can slough off our mantle of insecurity and self-loathing, without losing our soul or sense of humour. These things can go: Complaining, Second-guessing, Indecision, Jeanne's Cakes, Peter Nygard, Burton Cummings' mustache. These things can stay: Feistiness, Good Prices, Bad Jokes about the Weather, Gunn's applejacks, Richard Hurst's mustache. And maybe, just maybe, by the time Gail Asper's Canadian Museum for Human Rights is built, we'll be ready to be the next Bilbao, Spain.
-Kelly Hughes, Aqua Books

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Psalm 63

O God, you are my God;
I earnestly search for you.
My soul thirsts for you;
my whole body longs for you
in this parched and weary land
where there is no water.
I have seen you in your sanctuary
and gazed upon your power and glory.
Your unfailing love is better than life itself;
how I praise you!
I will praise you as long as I live,
lifting up my hands to you in prayer.
You satisfy me more than the richest feast
I will praise you with songs of joy.
I lie awake thinking of you,
meditating on you through the night.
Because you are my helper,
I sing for joy in the shadow of your wings.
I cling to you;
your strong right hand holds me securely.
But those plotting to destroy me will come to ruin.
They will go down into the depths of the earth.
They will die by the sword
and become the food of jackals.
But the king will rejoice in God.
All who trust in him will praise him,
while liars will be silenced.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


anonymous, geez, winter 2006
"our prosperity has not been sinful . . . but if it seperates us so much from the poor, how can we say it is a blessing from God?"

Super interesting. Is it possible that what we normally consider blessings to actually be curses, seperating us from richer blessings?


Wednesday, September 23, 2009


anonymous, Geez, Winter 2006
The closer you are to pain is the closer you are to God. Instead of fixing people and cleaning up the cities, we should be seeking to celebrate the gifts of the people, find functional places for them in small communities, and continue to communiate to them their immediate and eternal importance as hosts of the spirit of love and agents of healing to others who have been hurt . . . we will not save people through words and sinners prayers, but through vibrant love.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

love this.

On Sabbath: We can teach ourselves the art of prayerfully and re-creatively wasting time. Most of us are already able to waste considerable time joylessly and unintentionally . . . the deliberate wasting of time by doing nothing can be an important spiritual discipline, especially if it is done with joy and in the spirit of re-creation. We may feel guilty and definitley out of step since everyone else looks so purposeful and busy. Yet a little holy time-wasting can create a bit of a true sabbath . . . we can rejoice in God's gift of time as we slow down to savor it. -Margaret Guenther

Tuesday, September 08, 2009


Excessive busyness, particularly in the service of a good cause, is an effective way of hiding from God and from our own deepest self. -Margaret Guenther

Wow. That one cuts deep, yeah?

I think there is a lot of wisdom in this quote. I have found it to be very true in my own life. There was a time where I was so busy busy busy running around, doing ministry in the providence dorm and in my church plant and within my family and within my youth group that I never allowed time for self-reflection or for personal development. I once believed that this was the way to go; that we are called to lives of giving giving giving, working hard and looking forward to the next life for rest.

But I can’t do that anymore. And I don’t want to. It took so long to make the mental shift from considering time spent alone as being selfish to seeing time spent alone being vital to selflessness. That ministry is not something to give away, but to be and live and find joy and rest in. That my soul is just as valuable as the next, that I am not called to sacrificing myself and my health to the point where I am destroyed, that listening to God’s voice requires the life quietness which only true rest can bring.

But rest is difficult. Not only because my mind is haunted by the million of things that it seems I should be doing, but because it is difficult to sit. To be myself. To reflect on who I am and who God in in ways which are healthy and not self-condemning. The enjoyment you get from conversing with yourself is completely dependent on how much you like yourself as a person and as a spiritual being. Sitting by yourself when you feel comfortable in your own skin is torturous. And important. And may be the only place where you can experience true grace.

Random thoughts.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

i guess i'm a communist.

When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist. -Dom Helder Camara

Monday, August 24, 2009


hello reading public

i have a headache today.


anyway. thanks for reading. i don't have the ability to be either deep or clever right now.


Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Monday, August 10, 2009

drama queen

A turning:

1. the act of a person or thing that turns.
2. an act of reversing position
3. the place or point at which anything bends or changes direction
4. an act of shaping or forming something
5. this past weekend

A decision to move forward with prayer and bold confidence. An act of faith, a careful consideration of Paul’s words, a difficult look into a mirror and a corresponding act of repentance and reunion with myself. A remembering. A new life, unfolding freshly daily. A choice to live in today, not within the past or the future. A re-entrance onto the dance floor. A breaking of chains. A beautiful and terrifying liberation. A questioning of my own strength and spirit. A reliance on grace to move forward.

Thank you.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

At our best, we become Sabbath for one another. We are the emptiness, the day of rest. We become space, that our loved ones, the lost and sorrowful, may find rest in us.

- Wayne Muller

Monday, July 20, 2009

Really, I Don't Even Like this CD.

Listening to martin sexton and contemplating my existence.

I am ready for a change. I am itching for a change. My spirit is ready to go somewhere and to start fresh. To go back to school. To start fresh somewhere with a clean slate. To grab onto the calling I hear so clearly.

But I feel blocked. I am unsure how reckless to be in this life. Finances scare me. And moving scares me. And leaving my parents scares me. But staying here scares me, too, in terrifyingly different ways. And I am ready to move on – every part of me except for my bank account and my lack of safety net. And these are stupid reasons to stay somewhere.

And I question the wisdom of doing this in a time of immense change in my life. Of a time of vision shifting and uncertainties about things such as health and family ties. So much has changed in the last few months. My everyday life looks so different now and has such different cares and concerns. My daily routines are filled with foreign-feeling tasks and movements. Some comforting, most frightening. In many ways, I thrive on this.

There aren’t many things in this life that scare me. I have learned to see challenges as opportunities; to embrace discomfort and to stare the devil in the face when he knocks at my door. I have faced many challenges in my life and came through them, bruised but wiser and bigger and more thankful. I am Euphemia. I have learned my strength in these situations. I have learned of my capacity to love and to stand through hardship. But it seems that in matters of money (and spiders), I can’t seem to overcome my fears and I become paralyzed, unable to move or to take risks. Unwilling to let Christ do Her thing; always resisting the calling to step into the abyss of blessing and to simply trust.

I want to overcome my fears. To overcome myself. I want to be godly and thankful and beautiful and follow the Spirit without question and without hesitation. I want to give and be given to and learn and grow and experience and follow my calling with conviction and courage and grace. I want the courage and the voice to push the church into a more loving and diverse being. I want to change everyday. To be scared everyday, to walk in and with faith and love and mercy and grace. I want to live.

Maybe its time.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


If we care about human life and about freedom, we must reject war, no matter what our political leaders tell us. War poisons our souls, kills the children of "the enemy,' and mutilates the bodies and minds of our own soldiers. -Howard Zinn

Friday, July 10, 2009

timely reposting

Give your sorrow all the space and shelter in yourself that is its due, for if everyone bears [their] grief honestly and courageously, the sorrow that now fills the world will abate. But if you do not clear a decent shelter for your sorrow, and instead reserve most of the space inside you for hatred and thoughts of revenge - from which new sorrorws will be born for others - then sorrow will never cease in this world and will multiply.
--Etty Hillesum
quoted in Marc Ellis, "Toward a Jewish Theology of Liberation"

Monday, July 06, 2009


In a culture obsessed with consumption, I believe fasting needs to be considered in terms of its inner dynamic: abstinence . . . . The purpose of abstinence is to learn rightly to enjoy God's gifts. We need disciplines of abstinence because we have come to relate to food, drink, sex, money, recognition, and many other things in life not as lovely gifts to be enjoyed in moderation and gratitude, but as objects of consumption to fill emotional voids. When what we consume is consuming us, and what we possess is possessing us, the only way back to health and balance is to refrain from using those things that have control over us.
-Marjorie J. Thompson

Monday, June 29, 2009

Monday, June 22, 2009

Radical Evangelical with Strong Anglican Tendencies

There are so many layers to this story. So I’ll try to communicate them accurately . . .

Last week I had the pleasure and opportunity to attend the Kairos gathering – basically a gathering of Christians from around Canada to come together and talk about issues of Peace and Justice. As always in the justice world, there are many Anglicans, United Church people, Lutherans, Roman Catholics, etc., and very few from the Evangelical world. In fact, my presence was requested there because I attend a Mennonite church.

I have always been open about my faith and about my Evangelical perspective. There weren’t many of us – I met 3 others who would sort of fit into Evangelical-ish perspectives – this in a conference of about 400 people. Evangelicals, we have a lot of work to do in the social justice world.

I had many opportunities to speak and be heard throughout the conference, in a number of capacities. When asked what perspective I come from, I normally identify myself as a “radical Evangelical” – I find that language helpful, in that I am intentionally not allowing people to box me into a little category.

But inevitably it happens.

At the closing of the gathering, we participated in an Aboriginal hugging ceremony – this took over an hour as we were to hug everybody in the circle twice! There were still a number of people whom I didn’t meet yet at the time of the circle, so we all had our nametags on and sometimes it was more of a “good to meet you” than a “goodbye.”

A lady came to me in the circle and, while hugging, she noticed my nametag. “Bre. You’re the Fundamentalist. Should I be frightened?” She said this without a smile.

I was somewhat taken aback. I didn’t quite know what to say. “Don’t be frightened. I’m not a fundamentalist. I’m radical evangelical.”

“Which means what?” She asks. By this time we were about 4 people apart, as the hugging hasn’t stopped and now more people were being brought into our conversation. I had to think fast, as within seconds we would be out of earshot of each other.

“It means that I love Jesus. And I love diversity.”

We didn’t get to finish our conversation. But another one started with the next person I hugged. “And is Jesus ok with that?”

“Jesus loves diversity, too.” I said. And again the line moved on.

I wish I could have been more eloquent. I wish I could have been more prepared; I had assumed that my presence at the gathering, and at the Aboriginal ceremony, would have allowed people to presuppose my stance on the church and on my personal theology. But assuming is bad, so it turns out.

I wonder how many people during that gathering didn’t approach me, or didn’t speak to me because they had assumed that I was not a safe person to speak to, simply because of how I identified as an evangelical. This thought saddens my heart to a degree where I find it painful to speak about it.

I firmly believe in an evangelical faith which is inclusive and supportive of all cultures, all religions, and all ways of being and living. A faith and a church which breaks down walls instead of putting them up. A faith and a church with an open heart, which is committed and passionate about Jesus, scripture, and service from a standpoint of humility, grace, and anti-oppression. A church more concerned with Spirit than of rules of being. A church in love with the concepts of grace and mercy, of the mystical and the divine. A church which stands firm in our understanding of sin and the reality of the bodily resurrection, of culturally respectful and appropriate evangelism of biblical truths, and a church which exudes God’s love and intention for diversity in every way.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Poetry is Not a Luxury

I’ve been reading a lot of Audre Lorde lately. Her writings come up often in my courses, and my friends keep shoving wonderful books into my arms to read. She is fantastic.

Just going over a short essay she wrote back in 1977, and pondering . . .

The essay is called “Poetry is Not a Luxury.” Much of it can be summed up thusly (I love using the word “thusly.”)

“As we come more into touch with our own ancient, non-european consciousness of living as a situation to be experienced and interacted with, we learn more and more to cherish our feelings, and to respect those hidden sources of our power from where true knowledge and, therefore, lasting action comes . . . I believe that women carry within ourselves the possibility for fusion of these two approaches so necessary for survival, and we come closest to this combination in our poetry. I speak here of poetry as a revelatory distillation of experience . . . For women, then, poetry is not a luxury. It is a vital necessity of our existence . . . poetry is the way we help give name to the nameless so it can be thought. The farthest horizons of our hopes and fears are cobbled by our poems, carved from the rock experiences of our daily lives.”

My mom hates poetry. I struggle with poetry in the same way I struggle with the Bible – you often have to read it a million times over and really dig into the text to get what’s happening. Takes a lot of time to go over a short little piece, and I often feel I don’t have time to ponder a certain piece over and over and over again. My loss.

And isn’t that the point, really? Lorde points out the need to get in touch with our own ancient, culturally separated selves – to not be so obsessed with the physical and to focus on the spiritual. To cherish and experience and dance. It is within these careful, slow ponderings that we discover our power, our action, our very selves.

Poetry is not a luxury. But I treat it as such, as I often callously treat time with beloved family, friends. As I treat time alone or in meditation as luxuries and not necessities. Today I feel called to a deeper understanding of life – life which is thoughtful, careful, joyful and unhurried. Full of so many important things, truly important tasks and ponderings, that I need to bring myself to a place where, when I wake up in the morning, my schedule is empty enough to be able to fit them all in.

Monday, June 01, 2009


The Spirit insists on transforming us at every level: personal, social, economic, and political. Gos is Lord of our whole life. When we think of categories like prayer and service, contemplation and action, and individual and community as opposites, we simply create false and unnecessary divisions. Nurturing the inner life and addressing social realities are both important aspects of the Christian spiritual life. One is not more "spiritual" than the other, but either by itself is less than a full embodiment of the life we are called to in Christ.
- Marjorie J. Thompson

Monday, May 25, 2009


Hey everyone

This blog right now is not too thought out. I am in an emotional state, as well as a painful state in regards to a headache.
I think back now, and am overwhelmed by how much my life has changed within the last 30 days. 30 days ago I was coming back from Kansas doing what I love to do. Since then my life has shifted so much in so many many ways. Significant life plan changes which I didn’t foresee (life is never a straight line . . . ), I’ve moved, made some educational and career plans, my Mom is fighting sickness in the hospital and we don’t really know what’s going on.

Very unsettling. But also a time of learning and of remembering what’s true. Christ is my anchor, and that has not changed. I derive great feelings of peace, presence, and a healthy place to grieve, lament, scream, and at times experience joy in this relationship that I have in Christ. My anchor is strong, and even though my figurative home may be (violently) shifted, I find comfort in my faith and my God and my wonderful community of friends worldwide.

This, too, shall pass. All shall be well, all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well. I suspect, in a cosmic sense, they already are.

Here’s to a painful, but exciting and fulfilling journey.

Monday, April 27, 2009

bye (for now) and a poem

Hey everyone!
I am off to Toronto (just got back from Kansas . . . will talk about that later!) I'll be gone until Mid-May and am unsure if I will be able to update my blog. But check back in 2 weeks!

Many blessings to you,

Earth's crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God;
But only he who sees, takes off his shoes,
The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries
And daub their natural faces unaware
More and more from the first similitude
-Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Monday, April 20, 2009

short 'n' sweet

"Poverty is a threat to peace." - Muhammad Yunus, winner of 2006 Nobel Peace Prize

Monday, April 13, 2009


Hey everyone.

This Easter was a significant one. I don’t think I’ve ever been to church this often. Went 3 times this weekend, and each experience was very different. Which brings me to something I’ve been considering lately.

In New York, people were somewhat obsessed about which denominational background I identify with. Simply saying “Evangelical” wasn’t cutting it, but I didn’t quite know what else to say. Finally, I started using the term “MennoAnglican” and that seemed to communicate my particular church place at the moment. Which satisfied others, but somewhat irked my spirit.

I currently, sort of, attend both a Mennonite Brethren Church and an Anglican Church here in Winnipeg. My dual church personality was first sprouted out of necessity; Faithworks (Mennonite Church) meets on Saturday evenings which is sometimes hard to get to due to my work and ministry schedule. So I began attending St. Matthew’s Anglican on Sunday mornings when I couldn’t make it out to Faithworks.

I have found much richness in this combination, but also some discomfort and angst in this situation. I feel comfortable at Faithworks in many ways. It is the style of worship which my Christian upbringing is most familiar with, and I appreciate their fluidity and flexibility the pastors show in arranging our weekly gatherings. I connect completely with FW’s statement of mission and values. I adore and appreciate the pastoral support I have received from Faithworks. I am appreciative of the opportunities that I do have to serve in music ministry and some other random things. There are a number of excellent people in this faith community. Everything seems fantastic, but I significantly struggle with my place there. With what I can truly give, with where I fit. I have often stated that I never seem to actually “fit” anywhere – I experience a constant nagging feeling of separation at FW and in a number of other Christian communities. Like I don’t belong. Though I have been around for years, I have yet to find a specific place within FW where I feel like I truly belong; a community or smaller group of people whom I am able to share my life with in a meaningful way. I don’t really understand this, and I struggle with what this means. I have often wondered what I am doing wrong here.

At St. Matthews, I have been able to find a very open and welcome community of believers from very diverse backgrounds – this I love. The diversity shown in a worship service at this church is very rich and deep with meaning. Though I often get lost in the thick ritualized service, I find much of the symbolism, common prayers, and other aspects of the service comforting and meaningful. I connect well with female priest, who shares some of the passions and perspective I have on issues of social justice. One of my most favorite parts is that people there are so unrushed. After services or meetings people truly sit together and just . . . are. This is so good for my soul. To feel unrushed, unhurried, to connect with people in a true and leisurely manner. They understand, y’know? They understand about faith and life and community in a very deep way. People there know about each other’s lives and are invested in the community. This is fantastic. But I also still feel a bit of an outsider. Like I am a constant visitor, peering in and learning the ways of the Anglican life. There is much that I respect and love and cherish about this community and about their style of worship. But again, I have yet to feel like I truly fit, like I truly belong. I struggle to not feel stupid when trying to find out what page of the green book we are on. There are many rituals which I do not understand the purpose of. Some of this makes the meaning of the service feel inaccessible. And I find the passing of the peace to be actually very stressful, which is somewhat ironic and funny. I do not know my place here either. I do not know where I can serve. There is no praise band which I can join, I don’t know how to break into this community in a meaningful way. I often sit and look confused.

I find attending both of these churches to be a very meaningful experience for me. They both feed sides of my spirituality which I crave – FW feeds the side of me which is Evangelical, and which seeks a personal experience of god within the context of a unified community, a place where I can call Christ “Lord,” and where people understand and affirm that. St. Matthew’s feeds my craving for ritual, intimate moments in community, diversity in worship and thought, where matters of faith are challenged in tangible and powerful ways from the moment I step inside the door.

Perhaps this tension is good for me. Perhaps it is helpful to be aware of what’s stirring inside of me, my confusion of the pain I experience in Christian community, and what that means for my soul. Perhaps someday I will be able to find a home within a church community. Perhaps I am destined for a life of constant wandering; sometimes I feel that I change and grow so often that it is impossible to stay in one place for more than awhile without pissing people off or having them fear for my soul with my constant questions.

I must admit though, it would be nice to someday find a home.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

To me, practicing mindfulness in the act of consuming is the basic act of social justice.
- Thich Nhat Hanh

Friday, March 27, 2009

Gear Campaign - United Nations

Hey y'all . . .

While at the United Nations I worked a bit with the GEAR campaign . . . info on this campaign can be found at stands for Gender Equality Architecture Reform and is a push for the adoption of the new UN entity for gender equality and women’s empowerment.

If you support this (I do!) please consider signing the online petition here:

This petition was forwarded to me by my UN Delegation, so I trust it.

Thanks muchly,

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

30 Days of Consumer Celibacy

30 Days of Consumer Celibacy

I thought this interesting. And just in time for Easter!
Ummm . . . I don't know what it has to do with Easter either, but be creative.


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

i am changed

Hey everyone,

Back in Winnipeg. What a time. I am still processing everything, and am still unsure of what to say about my experience. I definitely learned a lot. I am changed. Everything else I am still trying to figure out.

I miss my team, and the wonderful people I met out there. But I don’t really miss New York . . . culture is so funny. From a Canadian point of view, everyone there is extremely rude. And I freaked out from being constantly touched by everyone. I’m a prairie girl, we have lots of room here . . .

But then I found myself being rude on the bus and pushing somebody when they weren’t walking fast enough. Apparently I have taken on some new New York attributes.

Thank God for grace.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Commission Journal - another one. march 8. International Women's Day

Hey everyone

Its been awhile since I have documented here. Sorry for the lack of communication. Things are just so busy and by the time I get home I crash and go to bed, or debate theological constructs with my colleagues. Which is even more fun around glasses of wine . . .

Things are good. I am so blessed to be working with a fantastic team of women and men from around the world. I am learning so much from these people. What is sad is that we have lost 3 members now, as they had to go back home before the commission is over. It feels like we are incomplete; we already miss these team members – their skills, and their personalities. They bring so much laughter, joy, and commitment to the cause. It will be hard and certainy different to continue without them.

We have made some significant gains here – our larger delegation was chosen to read a verbal statement during one of the official UN meetings – this is a very rare priviledge for sure as there are over 200 NGOs represented here. Plus, within our larger delegation our smaller delegation of World Student Christian Federation students were chosen to make the address. This is so encouraging to us that we are seen to be an intregal part of this team – we certainly have worked hard for it! It was a very exciting and fulfilling moment to sit and listen to Veronica read our statement to the United Nations. We are working so hard here and so tirelessly, and it is great to see such tangible positive effects of our work.

Happy Women’s Day! March 8 marks the International Women’s Day. We spent the afternoon in a worship service where 3 of our group were involved in sharing stories about how their personal faith impacts their activist work. Listening to these stories, as well as the stories of other women from around the world, was fantastic, inspiring, very sad, and very hopeful. It was definitely meaningful. I feel so priviledged to be part of this experience.

Thanks for reading. There is so much I can say, but I feel that this keyboard is so limiting! I look forward to sharing my experiences more intentionally once I return. Plus I have committed to raising $500 for WSCF so that another student can get this experience next year. I am wresting with how best to do this – my favorite ideas right now include wine and beer tasting parties, a cheesecake affair, selling fair trade coffee, recording some drum songs, teaching drum lessons, etc. I have lots of ideas, but am not sure if they are cool enough . . . I’ll flush out this idea a bit more. But expect an invitation to something more than exciting . . .

Much love to you from New York.
Ill be home soon!

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

commission journal day 2 - march 3

Hi everyone!
Time for an update . . . my last posting ended on somewhat of a depressive note. I struggle with writing what is going on here – mostly because there is so much happening! Every day is very intense, and VERY full – for example, yesterday we started at 730 and finished at 11 pm Today we started even earlier at 6:30. So things are full and exciting.

My team is fantastic. I feel so blessed to be around such courageous, knowledgeable, integral women of Character. They are an absolute joy to work with! I can’t express this enough. I wll miss them all so much when we all leave!

Right now I am sitting in a panel entitled “Positve Masculinities” being put on by our wider delegation, the Ecumenical Women. This morning our team – the World Student Christian Federation, in cooperation with another young ecumenical women delegation – lead worship for the entire Ecumenical Women delegation. Yesterday we took part in official United Nations sessions we sat in the room with delegates from hundreds of countries. Reeally cool to be a part of that, where things actually happen, and it is also so eye-opening to see and understand how the UN really works. Somuch of it is beauticratic, arbitrary, and boring! Quite an experience. In addition to all of these things we attend dinners, work on our official policy recommendations, learn and share in panels and side events . . . lots to do! And over a week left to do it!

My last post I shared my struggles I was feeling. What is fantastic is that once I started talking about what I was feeling here, I heard lots of similar stories from people both within our delegation and other NGO’s which have nothing to do with us. We all struggle to make an impact, struggle with how much we can actually do, and are frustrated with so much of these processed. For example, some things are absolutely impossible to discuss, like true-gender inclusive language – these issues are simply not on the table. But it is heartening and significant that the delegates are speaking out and working on these things – it makes me believe that change will eventually happen in the UN, although it is painstakingly slow. Groups of people here really care about these issues and we will keep pushing, as our level of influence allows (and even beyond) to push these issues which are so close to our hearts.

So we are being strategric in what we want to happen in this commission – we are spreading ourselves out with our policy recommendations and telling anybody who wil hear – or anybody within earshot, including oru government delegates and anyone we can possibly speak to! Personally I have chosen to focus my influence on our Ecumenical Women larger delegation – to declare a voice withi this context – both where I am invited and where I am not – to strengthen us and to change us and our lanuage and gthe way that we do things so that in this commission and in future commissions we will be more unified, purposeful, and intentionally centred on the intersection of faith and justice. I love these women and I think I have a true place here to speak and influence the future. So I will grab onto that, and be bold, and push the envelope a little bit which is sort of the way that I do things.

I am learning so much, and I am changing everyday. Thanks for all of your notes of encouragement after my first dark few days – they are very meaningful to me.

Together, we are gonna change the world . . .


Saturday, February 28, 2009

commission journal

9pm. February 28
I struggle a bit with what to write here. I am not sure how in depth to go. I feel weary and stretched and confused and very alone, although I have met wonderful people and feel part of this community.

Let me start at the beginning.

I am a delegate at the 53rd commission on the status of women, held by and put on by the United Nations in New York. I am here as a representative of the world student Christian federation, which is encompassed in the UN-recognized organization “ecumenical women.”

I am the North American rep. I have learned that our position as WSCF-ers here is unique; most of the young women here are only here for a few days or a week, or are just here on exposure tours. Our group is here to be advocates, and to fully participate as delegates in this commission.

The major part of these two weeks is a government document which will (most likely) be signed onto by a number of countries around the world. So there are government meetings, government meetings which we are allowed to sit in on, educational meetings such as side panels, and a number (and I do mean a number . . . like in the hundreds) of side events and such that people who do not have direct access to the UN can participate in. The point of all of these activities is to contribute to this document – this document will focus on policies and procedures which involves equality of women, especially in the context of caregiving, and then especially in the context of caregiving in cases of HIV/AIDS.

I hope that is enough background. So here is my experience.

My team is fantastic. Extraordinary women with extraordinary backgrounds. They are all lovely, and I am excited to get to know each of them better. I’ve also met some wonderful other young women, as well as established women who I’ve been able to make some meaningful connections with. This means the world to me.

Today we began our first day of training – info on what the CSW actually is and does, our role in it, and some strategic planning as to how we can use this time most effectively.

Part of our training, and our work here, is gathering for morning worship. We consider it an integral part of what we are doing. As the commission continues, morning worship will sometimes be the only days that we are able to be in the same place with others from Ecumenical Women.

Worship was incredible and very moving. I find it difficult to put the experience into words. The liturgy was powerful. To commune with these women was humbling and wonderful. And the most moving part, which people have been speaking about all day, was the story that was told through dance, music, and spoken word – the story of Ruth and Naomi.
The story of Ruth & Naomi was told in a very honest, straightforward way. And it came alive – in ways I’ve never thought about or experienced. What was really brought out was the economic and social realities of these women, and what was going on. Without husbands, these women were so vulnerable – no laws protected them from starvation, mistreatment, or death. Naomi was bitter at God for her situation. The reader articulated that Naomi was not hurt by the laws of God, but instead by the laws of the land - the laws of man.

There is lots that I can comment on this theologically, but I will try to keep this brief and focus on my experience.

Worship was powerful, and the telling of this story has framed this day in more ways than one.

Most of the rest of the day was spent in sessions – workshops, panels, all around the issue of caregiving. We heard powerful, firsthand testimonies from women all around the world about how they have experienced this in their context. What was most difficult for me to hear was how the church perpetuated the problem in many of these instances.

As I was sitting in these workshops, I was moved and stirred by many different things. First, the plight of women, in ours and other cultures, and the difficulties that we and they face when trying to live life. But I was also stirred in other, deeper ways. I guess I had expected to be here, in an ecumenical context, with people interested and engaged in issues of gender justice, who had a shared general understanding and awareness of some of the issues I and SCM Canada have been working on.

What I have learned was this:
1) gender justice and justice for women are not the same thing
2) issues of sexuality, which I see as being key to gender justice issues, are again and still being largely ignored by the church
3) and another realization, a bit sad for me personally, is that I seem to be the only self-identified evangelical in the room (at least, so far)

I can’t express to you how shocked, deflated, and disappointed I am in these realities. I sit in these meetings and I hear “gender inclusive” language which is not at all inclusive, and which fails to include people whom I love and whom inspire me to be closer to Christ. I hear no mention of sexuality or the church’s response to oppression based on sexuality, which is shocking to me especially because of the HIV/AIDS connection to this commission, and the pain that the church has caused in this area. And finally (which is admittedly less of a global deal) I am sad that the issues I am faced with within my church I need to keep walking somewhat alone because “my people” don’t seem to either want to attend or be invited to events like this.

So it was a day of very mixed emotions, of high hopes and of shattered expectations. And it is all very wearying.

And I can’t seem to find my place or my voice at this conference, and I can’t see a way where I can effectively and safely put the issues I care about on the table, and I don’t know how I fit or why I belong here. Or if I do.

And I had a mild melt-down in a small group workshop today. We were in small groups and I was frustrated, and we were asked why we were all here. Some said they worked within the church, some said that they cared about women’s rights. And I said that I was here because of pain, mine and others whom I have walked beside, because of issues of gender justice. And when asked a question about how males and females could work together in my organization I cried and objected and challenged, in a blubbering sort of way, why the language of that question was not truly gender inclusive and that the question itself, though well intentioned, caused more pain for people. And we were comparing gender justice in the church and people were saying things like women priests get paid less than male priests and have less opportunities. And I cried more and thought about the guilt I feel being a woman who is called to be a pastor or priest or some sort of ordained minister, and how so many years of being taught that this desire was wrong has resulted in an emotional complex and a haunting feeling of going against God’s will. How can I say that the struggles of these women around the table gave me hope, that one day evangelicalism would have these problems? That women be allowed and encouraged to be ordained ministers in the small towns of Southern Manitoba? And the struggles I feel being a woman in my church, and in my Christian upbringing, and the shame and tension about I feel about my place in ministry. And I tried to articulate this, and I think I did so badly. But some kind ladies gave me encouraging words.

So I sit here, at this hostel. 2 weeks to go on this program and I feel drained and somewhat useless and mostly confused. I don’t know where my place is, and I don’t know where my voice will be heard, and I don’t know how much I can push for myself and for the people that I love to be respected here, and nurtured here, without causing some sense of danger or harm upon myself and others. I feel a coward. And that kills me. And I feel alone here, in this community of people who really care about me. And I don’t know who I can tell my story to who would understand me today, or who is available to talk, or who is even in my time zone.

It is 10 o clock and time for bed. Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

UN. dude.

Hey everyone!

So I am off to NY, flying out in almost exactly 12 hours (weather permitting - I am starting to get a little worried . . . )

This is what I am doing:

I am the North American delegate for the World Student Christian Federation, part of the World Council of Churches, part of the "Ecumenical Women" delegation as outlined in the link above.

Basically . . . participating in the United Nations' 53rd Commission on the Status of Women!

I am excited, but nervous. I'll try to post more about my experiences when I have internet access!

Blessings to you all,

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Musings. Perhaps unhelpful ones?

So I am sitting here, at Starbucks in Winnipeg, writing this on the back of a bus schedule. It is early morning. I am struck by the fact that this place is full, but everyone here looks the same. There is a line-up of middle upper-class, middle aged men, with the same haircut and eyeglasses, the same iPhones and leather jackets. I stick out with my green (grey? I am color blind) pants, slightly frayed at the bottom.
It occurs to me that, like in so many other areas of my life, I really don’t belong here. I mean, really. And I wonder again what the deal is. Am I really this weird? That I don’t feel at home in my family, my church, my workplace. Is this a normal phenomenon? Or is it just me?
I sip my coffee. Overpriced. Fair trade in that Starbucks sort of way.
I think of where I have fit in in the past. My residence experiences at Providence were truly meaningful. I really knew that I belonged there. Most recently, I feel most at home with my friends and colleagues from the Student Christian Movement and the World Student Christian Federation. I was at our San Francisco conference a few weeks ago and I remember being so sad to leave. The second I got there I felt like I truly belonged. Like these people understand who I am and what I am trying to do in life. It seems that at home in Winnipeg I am spending so much time explaining my justice work, and even defending it to people who think it their business to crush my dreams and take away the most significant, meaningful experiences I have had.
My heart hurt to leave San Francisco, and the people there. This was even more tangible, as I had to leave a day before everyone else (my only comfort being found in the Denver airport bathroom – there are dinosaurs engraved in the floor. Fantastic).
It is good to feel like I belong. It feeds my soul, and I live for the times where I get to be with SCM-ers, doing the work that we do in that super quirky way that we do it. The next gathering is May. I can’t wait.
So what does this mean? Do I even belong in Winnipeg? Or is this a normal feeling?

Tuesday, February 10, 2009


Hey everyone!

Life is good, fast, and I'm freaking out.

There has been so much good stuff going on. So much exciting justice work, good community experiences. Loving and working for Jesus and all that.

Just got back from San Francisco which is the cleanest, prettiest, most dangerous feeling city I've visited. What did we do in San Fran? We re-started North America, SCM-style. Boo-Yeah. And saw so many good people . . .

Last week was our Social Justice Fair, which was bigger and better than ever. This year we brought in a guest speaker, a woman who was exiled from Iraq becuase of her political poetry. It was a great event, and then our Social Justice fair the day after had a record 275 attending students!

I am freaking out about my very difficult UofM class - Masculinities - it is an upper level class and I am struggling with the content because I don't have as much background in Women's Studies as the other students do. But it is good and challenging. I am struggling to get all of my research papers done before i . . .

head to New York! I am the North American representative of the World Student Christian Federation to the UN's Commission on the Status of Women. This is a big deal - it is a 2 week program! I am determined to change the world.

I think in late March I will actually be able to breathe . . .

So that's what's going on. Justice, Jesus, and . . . really soul-feeding stuff.

I'm excited. And pumped. And LOOOOOVVVVVEEEE it.

Monday, February 02, 2009

O God, to those who have hunger give bread; and to us who have bread give the hunger for justice.

- A Latin American prayer

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

San Fran and Knitting

I think we're getting better . . . maybe.

I am off to San Francisco! WOO!

Our third podcast, this special New Year show features SCM’s international representative to the World Student Christian Federation, Alice Glaze - ‘Knitting With Your ExCo’ - and music by Michael Franti, The Cobalt Season and Emily Carr. Hosted by Bre and David Ball.

Click here to listen

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

thanks, y'all. you humble me. i'll change settings when i have time. here's a quote for this week!

Prayer and meditation have an important part to play in opening up new ways and new horizons. If your prayer is the expression of a deep and grace-inspired desire for newness of life—and not the mere blind attachment to what has always been familiar and "safe"—God will act in us and through us to renew the Church by preparing, in prayer, what we cannot yet imagine or understand. In this way our prayer and faith today will be oriented toward the future which we ourselves may never see fully realized on earth.
- Thomas Merton

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


hey everyone,

i feel the need to temporarily limit my blog to select individuals for a bit - google searches bring it up on my name and for the next few months i would like to protect myself in that way.

i will change the settings to allow only select individuals access to it starting January 20th, 2009. If you consider yourself to be a friend of mine you are very much welcome to read it. If you want to receive an official blogger invite to be able to access it, please get in contact with me via facebook, email, or comments below.
thanks muchly for reading,

Monday, January 12, 2009


Anatole France: "The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to beg in the streets, steal bread, or sleep under the bridge."

Monday, January 05, 2009

Yes, go ahead, reveal me, measure me,
but please, it matters that you take me
every little layer of me and
lay me down into a basket of hope,
fling me into the wind
lift me into the company of birds and light
where a hand on the night’s warmth of his back,
a clear sharp word
undo me.

- Bonnie Loewen, excerpt from “A Pattern Sermon” Geez Summer 2008